beginnings  1932-1939

5 Kenton GardensFamily
It all started in a small semi detached house in Kenton , near Harrow in the county of Middlesex, about 10 miles north west of London.
I was born early in the morning of January 7th, a Thursday, in the year of Our Lord 1932. I was the third child my mother had borne. There was my sister Barbara born some ten years earlier in November 1922 and another child, a boy (Called Gervais, according to Barbara) who died at 48 hours of age. I was something of a mistake, the result of a “Saturday Night Piss-up”, Pop used to joke!.
 Baptismal Font
This is the Baptismal font in which I was christened.
The text reads:"Newton Richard Huntley Myers
Baptized Harrow Parish Church Easter Day 1932
E. Stogdon Vicar & Rural Dea
Rev. Edgar Stogdon was also Chairman of Governors of Harrow County School for boys. This was the school that I went to in 1943 - 1948 a strange coincidence. He had also been headmaster of Harrow School (The public school on the Hill) I've recently discovered (through the diligent efforts of my new friend John Lyons) that contrary to my belief the church in which which I was baptized was not the Kenton Church on St. Leonard's Avenue, but in fact the Harrow Parish church on Harrow Hill. I was able to prove this by finding a picture of that church's font which matches that on my baptismal card above.

St. Mary's Parish Church Harrow on the Hill - Font
Font : round bowl with moulded rim and under-side, face cut with a scalloped ornament, stem fluted spirally and moulded base, Purbeck marble, late 12th-century.

They christened me...Newton Richard Huntley! what a mouthful to saddle a little baby with. I presume this long winded set of “Christian” names was intended to ensure that there was little or no possibility of my being mistaken for a Jew! How little thought my parents gave to the upcoming problems with a first name like Newton. The name came from the doctor responsible for my delivery, Dr. Newton Andrews, Richard, I suppose, came from my great grandfather and/or great uncle, Richard Stevens and the Huntley was from Aunt Rose’s husband, my godfather.
I have heard that there was some dispute between my parents as to the order of my first two names, my father, I think, preferred Richard as a first name. mum was worried that I would then be called Dick!. She didn’t realise that at the age of 16 I voluntarily adopted my second name and was Dick for many a year, reverting eventually to Richard but never to Newton except on legal documents. On reflection I think I was silly to bow to popularity, Newton after all is different.
Newly born January 1932
Newton Richard Huntley Myers - Not long arrived !! (Mum's hands!!) 

But I’m jumping ahead, before you can get born you have to have ancestors
The Myers Family

Family Trees (Revised June 2014)
Click here to download the complete file. Multi-Page pdf Family Tree It may take a while to download and then you will need to increase the magnification to at least 75% and scroll around to read it.
You can print out all the pages and then trim and tape them together to make a full size chart. It's 51 A4 pages and several appear to be blank apart from the background image. I suggest you print all 51 and it should then be relatively simple to trim them with a guillotine (if you have one) or a straight edge and craft knife. It should be fairly obvious how they go together.
The Myers Family Tree is, to say the least of it, somewhat vague. The Myers name originated in what is today known as Germany, but was then (mid 1800s) Prussia. The family was originally 100% Jewish. Morris Myers, described as a commercial traveller on the wedding certificate of my paternal grandparents, was the father of Julius Jacob my grandfather. Through a dear friend, Hazel Craig of Rickmansworth, we have “dug up” some interesting documents relating to the naturalization of a Morris Myers. These documents would seem to be applicable to my great grandfather. It is interesting to note that they are all written in long-hand and are extremely clear and easy to read.
I have also copied the pages of his application for naturalization dated 1869. These are Photostats of the original documents and were obtained from the Public Records Office at Kew. Hazel says in her letter enclosing them “ I think I’ve got the right man”,. She goes on to say “The only other Morris Myers I found was from Russia and arrived in the 1880’s”. I had a letter from Charmian , my first cousin living in New Zealand, and she seems to recall someone who made bird cages !. Could this be what a wireworker does?? Research at the local library here in Canada failed to find any reference to wireworkers as a specific trade. However with the help of a friend on the internet I was able to get hold of the birth certificate of Alice Myers one of Julius Jacob’s sisters. Under Occupation of Father it clearly states “Wireworker and Cage Maker” . It is perhaps also interesting that on this certificate his first name is spelled Morrice.
There now is no doubt that these papers do relate to my great-grandfather since he claims 3 children in the declarations and all the dates fit perfectly.
Julius Jacob's application for British citizenship - see details below 

JJM Application for Naturalization
The above document is part of a set emailed to me by Katherine Thompson which she has obtained from the UK national Archive. Katherine is directly related to me through Alice Myers one of Morris Myers' daughters.
The important part is contained in the section headed Names and Nationalities of his parents are... it reads as follows...
"Moritz Meyer, a native of Hamburg and Mariane his wife, a native of Magdeburg aforesaid both subjects of Germany that they came to England, with your Memorialist in the year 1859, when the father of the Memorialist adopted the name of Myers in place of that of Meyer and continued to use the name of Myers down to the time of his death (circa 1898 RM), and your Memorialist has always borne and been known by the name of Myers."
To some extent this clarifies the confusion over the various spellings of Morris that I have experienced in the various Census and other documents. One can't help wondering what Morris's English was like anyway. Presumably he would have had a fairly pronounced German accent since he was in his late twenties when he immigrated into England. I imagine that the precise spelling of his names various was of little or no concern to him.
Further on-line searches have provided the following information from the 1871 UK Census...
 Ages are as at 1871

Name Relation Age Profession Where Born
Morris Myers Head 48 Fancy Metal Case Maker & Wire Worker Hamburg, Germany
Marianne Myers Wife 45   Magdeburg, Prussia
Mase Myers (Max) Son 14   "
Julius Myers Son 12 (Grandfather) "
Alice Myers Daughter 8   Middlesex, St. Pancras
Fanny Myers Daughter  4   Middlesex, Hackney 
I have received further information from my Internet contact in London, John Lauper. He has researched the 1881 UK Census and found details of the Myers family as at 1881. I also have the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS – Mormons) set of CDs for the entire 1881 UK census which provides even more details :-
In 1881 the Myers family lived at 42 Upper Tollington Road, Islington London, Middlesex and comprised:-

Name Age Title or Occupation Place of birth
Maryann MYERS   55 Annuitant Magdeburg - Germany
Julius Jacob MYERS (Grandfather)   22 Commercial Clerk Magdeburg - Germany
Alice MYERS  18 Governess London
Fanny MYERS 14 Scholar London

Sometime between 1881 and the next census in 1891 Julius Jacob (Grandfather) set up home at  224 Dunford Road, Islington
Here's the 1891 census entry...

Name Relation Age Title or Occupation Place of birth
Julius Jacob MYERS Head 32 Manager of Coal Business Magdeburg - Prussia
Jessie Helen MYERS Wife 32    London - Islington
Sidney S. Myers Son 1   London - Islington
Rose L. Myers Daughter 5   London - Islington  

On the move again, by 1901 the Myers family has now grown to five members by the addition of my father, Victor Julius and they've moved to 8 Lancaster Road, Hornsey. Grandpapa has now become self employed and is described as a "Coal & Coke Factor"

From the 1881 Census I also gleaned details of Jessie’s family. They lived at 25 Upper Tollington Road, Islington, London, Middlesex. Note that this is the same street as Julius Jacob lived shown in the 1881 details above, presumably this is how Julius Jacob and Jessie met. The persons present on the night of the census (April 4th 1881) were as follows:
Ages are as at 1881

Name Age Relationship Job Pace of Birth
Richard STEVENS 54 Head Builder Tunbridge - Kent
Sarah STEVENS 43 Wife   Wareham - Dorset
Constance STEVENS 17 Daughter   Islington
Minnie STEVENS 15 Daughter   Islington
Lily STEVENS 10 Daughter Scholar Islington
Albert STEVENS 8 Son Scholar Islington
Nellie BALLS 11 Niece Scholar Hackney
Annie HORKER 20 Servant   Hemel Hempstead

There are two persons missing from this census entry, namely, Jessie herself and her brother Walter. Through the LDS CDs I found them and a lot of other “lost” Great Uncles and Aunts. Richard Stevens, Jessie’s father apparently had a brother called Thomas J. Stevens and he lived at Hawks Road, St. Peter’s Schools Masters House, Kingston on Thames, Surrey. On the night of the census the following persons, including Jessie Helen, were present at his address:

Ages are as at 1881

Name Age Relation Occupation Place of Birth
Thomas J. STEVENS 44 Head Schoolmaster Wareham, Dorset
Mary J. Stevens 46 Wife   Winchester, Hants
George R. Stevens 16 Son Pupil/Teacher Kingston, Surrey
Charles F. Stevens 15 Son Rly Booking Clerk Kingston
Herbert E. Stevens 11 Son Scholar Kingston
Alice E Stevens 9 Daughter Scholar Kingston
Sydney H. Stevens 7 Son Scholar Kingston
Jessie H. Stevens 22 Niece   Islington

 By this time Jessie’s brother, Walter, was married and described himself as a builder, probably in partnership or working with his father Richard. He now lived at 148 Seven sisters Road, Islington, London, Middlesex along with his wife, three children and a servant. Details are as follows:
Ages are as at 1881

Name Age Relation occupation Place of birth
Walter C. Stevens 28 Head Builder Hackney
Alice Stevens 23 Wife   Hornsey
Hilda STEVENS 4 Daughter   London
Walter C. STEVENS 1 Son   London
Richard S. STEVENS 2m Son   London
Amelia LAWS 14 Servant   London

Moving on to more details about Julius Jacob and Jessie Helen, my Paternal Grandparents.

Young JJM

These two pictures below show the power of genetics. On the left a posed picture of Grandfather Julius in his best outfit, on the right, me, posed in French Park, Ismailia, Egypt, during national service in the R.A.F.
Note the identical pose and at the time my picture was taken 1951, I had never seen Grandpa's picture.

Julius in top hatRM in Ismalia French Park - Hand on hip

Grandfather - Julius Jacob Myers

Julius Jacob was brought to England as a baby from Magdeburg. Since he was 25 at the time of his marriage in 1884 he was, presumably born some time in 1859, the same year as Morris immigrated to England.

Marriage certificate for Julius & Jesse

 In 1884 Julius Jacob Myers married Jessie Helen Stevens in the Church of Saint Bartholomew, Southsea Hampshire. (see certificate above) The actual date was September 1st 1884 and the marriage was solemnised by Edward Auyatt Auyatt-Burney M.A. the vicar of St. Bartholomew’s.
The fathers of the bride and groom were Richard Stevens and Morris Myers, the former being Jessie’s father, a Builder, presumably of Southsea. The respective addresses of the happy couple were; Holloway, London for Julius and 1, Victoria Road North, Southsea for Jessie. A visit to Southsea around 1987 resulted in the discovery that the church no longer exists and that records had been moved elsewhere. Number 1 Victoria Road still exists and appears, from the outside, to have been converted into flats.
The witnesses were Max Myers, Julius’s brother and Richard Stevens, Jessie’s father. Also shown on the marriage certificate as a witness is Minnie Stevens, sister to Jessie, aged 18 or thereabouts (See census listing ).. I have traced Max Myers through the 1901 census. It is rumoured that he was the “Black Sheep” of the family and that at one time he ran a pub in London somewhere. In fact he was the licensee of 'The Crown & Sceptre in Brompton Road, near Harrods. Here's his census listing...

Name Relation Age Profession or Occupation Place of Birth
Max Myers Head 44 Licensed Victualler Germany. British Subject
Harriet Myers Wife 44 Wife Paddington, London
Alice Lillian Myers Daughter 18   Holloway, London
Harold Audland Myers Son 8 St. Pancras, London
Ada E. Hoad Servant 24 Barmaid King's Cross, London
Cassie Heckinbotttom Servant 24 Barmaid Margate, Kent
Nina Paton Servant 17 Housemaid, Domestic Kentish Town London

 The above census entries by no means represent a full list of the various families, for a more detailed view you can download the family tree mentioned above. This chart includes many new relatives both close and distant who have either been contacted or contacted me.

Grandmother - Jessie Helen Myers Nee Stevens

Jessie Helen Myers = Nee Stevens
I have a Birth Certificate for Jessie Helen Stevens showing her date of birth as 24th February 1859. Her father, as already stated was, Richard Stevens, however at that time his occupation was a Grocer, not a Builder as shown on the subsequent marriage certificate of 25 years later. Her mother was Sarah Stevens formerly Stanley. Jessie was born at 7 Blundell Street, Caledonian Road, Islington in the County of Middlesex.
Jessie and Julius produced, as far as I know, four children. Rose, Sidney, Cecil & Victor. Cecil died under strange and premature (early twenties I believe) circumstances. We will not bother here with the various marriages of my aunts and uncles except to say that aunt Rose married one Huntley Sizer late in life and she lived to the ripe old age of 98 almost 99 (missed it by about 5 weeks!) There was no issue of this union!.
Full details are shown on the family tree (above) which is as complete as possible at time of writing.


Myers Family Fortune

Julius Jacob prospered and made large sums of money from coal.

Myers, Rose coal wagons He was founder of the then large coal merchants MYERS ROSE & Co. Ltd. This Company no longer exists and was absorbed into Charringtons probably in the thirties. Thanks to a helpful person on the internet I now have some more information about Myers, Rose & Co. Ltd. Russell Wear saw a message I left on the Genealogy newsgroup and replied as follows:
"The firm of Myers, Rose was registered in 1900 as Myers, Gilson & Rose Co. Ltd. and changed its name to Myers, Rose Co. Ltd. in 1903. It went into liquidation on 6th May 1918 and was taken over by Rose, Smith & Co. Ltd. The latter lasted until going into liquidation in 1947.
There should be files on both firms at the Public Record Office, Kew, in class BT31. These should give details of shareholders etc and their addresses. You will need to arrange for someone to check the files for you. In a second message Russell wrote the following:
I happened to be at Kew yesterday so had a look for a reference for you. The one for the 1900 company is BT 31/16356/65313. The last five figures are the number of the company. Rose, Smiths' company number is 150391 so ref will be BT 31/xxxxx/150391.
The firm seems to have formed to take over the business of Henry Arthur Gilson and Tom Cuff, who were trading as coal merchants in Tottenham Lane, Hornsey. Principals were Julius Jacob Myers and George Rose."

The Mount

Julius and Jessie built/bought a large house on Hendon Lane in Finchley just north of Great North  Road (A1). It was named “THE MOUNT” and cost £3, 1907, an extremely expensive house in those days. According to the 1911 census it had 10 rooms and there we two live in servants aged 18 & 23, both female. The census also states that there were 5 children born to Jessie and Julius but that only 4 survived. I'm currently trying to obtain more details about the house, plans, builder's name etc.

The Mount - Myers Family residence circa 1910

Some idea of it’s size can be judged from the fact that in the fifties it was sold to a developer (it had long since passed out of the Myers family) and eleven detached houses were built on its plot. In the early 1900s it is rumoured that Julius’s income was in the region of £10,000 per annum. It’s almost impossible to relate that to present day purchasing power, but somewhere in the region of £900,000 is probably not too far off the mark.

Suicide !

Julius committed suicide in 1914. He was on holiday at an hotel in Clacton on Sea, Essex with a male nurse and hanged himself. How sad! He was just 56. The following is a contemporary report of the inquest from the “East Essex Observer and Clacton News” date December 26th 1914

Saturday December 26th 1914

Hangs Himself During Attendant’s Absence
Effects of the Scarborough Raid

An inquest was held at the Clacton Police Court on Wednesday morning at 11.30 by Dr. J. Harrison, Coroner, to enquire into the death of Mr. Julius Jacobs (sic) Myers, who was found hanging from his bedroom door at Grosvenor House, Colne Road, on Monday afternoon.
The jury was composed as follows: Messrs. G. Gardiner (foreman), C. Dove, F. Stock, W. Turner, G. West, C. Bass, S. Smith, C. Wynne, A. Johnson, A. W. Dell, F. Benson, C. W. Cook and W. Goody.
Mrs. Jessie Myers, widow of the deceased, of “Branksome,” Hendon Lane, Finchley, said deceased, who was 56 years of age, though lately of no occupation, was previously a coal merchant in the firm of Myers, Rose and Co., and that he had been staying at Grosvenor House since the 1st of August. Witness came down about eight weeks ago and found him in fairly good health. His mind had been failing and he had been worse off and on for three years. He had been in Bethnal House Private Asylum and had not been discharged but let out “on relief” from there on June 9th last, which meant that reports as to his state of health had to be forwarded from time to time.
William James Stubbings, male nurse, said he was attached to the Bethnal House Institution. He left there in charge of the deceased six months ago, and went first to Westcliff, Southend, and came to Clacton on August 1st. Deceased was suffering from general paralysis of the brain and had been on and off in the Institution during the last three years. The last report witness had sent was about a month previous. Deceased had progressed fairly well since June, and was quite all right and in the best of spirits on the 16th inst. He was taken worse on Thursday the 17th, suffering from spasms for about two hours from 3 to 5 a.m. Witness had not called a doctor then because he had seen deceased like that before and knew that he usually recovered quickly. On the Saturday morning Dr. Flanagan was called in and he sent a bottle of medicine to induce sleep, and said the deceased wanted watching very carefully. About 2.15 on Monday afternoon witness put deceased to bed. The patient had had some of the medicine the previous night but not enough to get to sleep, and passed a very restless night. The patient had never had bromide while in charge of witness.
Witness went up to the deceased about every half hour, and last saw him alive at 4.15, when, as he seemed quite right and apparently sound asleep, he did not disturb him. When he took up his tea about 5 o’clock, witness found the door locked and immediately set to work to burst it open, a task that took about twenty minutes as the door was stout and the lock a strong one. Directly he got the door open, he found a dead weight behind it and discovered it was the suspended body of the deceased. He called for a knife to sever the rope, mean while supporting the deceased so as to relieve the weight on the rope. He at once tried artificial respiration and continued until the arrival of Dr. Flanagan, for whom he had sent. The rope was attached to a clothes hook behind the door. The rope had been taken by deceased from inside a trunk round which it had been tied when travelling. Witness knew the rope was there but was not aware that deceased did. The deceased had never, to the witness’ knowledge shown any suicidal tendency, nor had any warning been given him of such. Witness had been a twelvemonth at the Institution and had also had previous experience of such nursing at home, his father having needed such care in his later years.
In answer to question by the Foreman, witness said that deceased did not seem the same man after the Scarborough raid. He seemed to imagine the Germans were coming to bombard Clacton. He had delusions of sight, imagining he saw German ships outside his window and that sort of thing.
Dr. Henry James Flanagan said he was called in last Saturday. Deceased at the first visit was unable to speak though not unconscious, but in the evening he showed improvement although he had not recovered. He (witness) prescribed chloral as he was informed that bromide had a bad effect on the patient. On the Sunday deceased was quite normal. He considered the attendant quite a capable man and that he had looked after deceased well. The cause of death was heart failure as deceased had died almost immediately and did not exhibit any signs of asphyxia., though the cause of death was from the hanging.
The Coroner, in summing up, said the cause of death was cardiac failure and suffocation from hanging. It was of course a case of suicide and the jury must determine whether deceased was of sound mind. Also they must state whether the attendant was to blame or not. He was evidently considered a capable man, and had only made a slip in judging deceased to be asleep and thinking it best to leave him alone. The depositions would be put before Commissioners in Lunacy, so they must consider that question carefully.
The jury return a verdict of “Suicide while of unsound mind,” and attached no blame to the attendant considering he had done all that was possible. Others in the neighbourhood had mentioned how attentive the attendant was to his duty. They also wished to express their sympathy with the widow and relatives of the deceased

Retyped by:
Newton Richard Huntley Myers (aged 64
Grandson of the deceased
Sunday March 31st 1996

Julius was committed to the Bethnal House Private asylum from which he was on release when he committed suicide as per the above inquest report. The following is information about this asylum..

Prospectus about 1900:
Is a Licensed House for the care and treatment of persons suffering from mental disorder. The House is situated within two miles of the Mansion House, and is easily accessible by train, tram and omnibus. It has the advantage of being in the proximity of large open spaces, namely, Bethnal Green Gardens and the Museum Gardens, both maintained by the London County Council, and it is besides within five minutes's walk of the Victoria Park.
Terms from 25s to £3.3s per week
According to the nature of the case and he accommodation wished for.
Private Rooms and Special Attendants are provided if required.
Voluntary Boarders received.
For further particulars apply to: The Medical Superintendent, Bethnal House, Cambridge Road, London, NE. National Telephone: East No. 3306.

Jesse - After inquest
Jessie after the Inquest

The hotel in Clacton where Julius Jacob hanged himself (circa 2012)

It seems that Julius was unable to make any rational decisions and as a result lost control of Myers Rose & Co. Ltd. by signing a document that prevented any of his heirs participating in the business.
I have recently received some information from a Doctor Paul Smith via the internet. Dr. Smith is researching archaic medical terms and I had asked him if he knew the precise meaning of "general paralysis of the brain". He replied as follows...
I wonder if it could have been "General paralysis of the insane" This is syphilis of the brain leading to dementia. There are usually personality changes.
In passing it should be mentioned that there is no record of Rose or Smith. The latter would be pretty impossible to trace the former perhaps possible. However as they were only business partners and not relatives there seems little point in pursuing this direction.
Probate was granted to Walter Charles Stevens (See page 8 for his family listing), Julius' brother in law (Jessie’s brother), in the amount of £10,758 8s 3d. I wonder what that would be in terms of current values? One web site suggests it has the purchasing power in 2013 of £4,200,000  based on average earnings.

There is a .pdf copy of Julius's will here. It is pretty wordy, the significant part is the Codicil which makes Jessie Helen sole beneficiary and her Brother Walter Stevens an executor. This codicil was apparently drawn up whilst Julius Jacob was in the Bethnal Asylum and I doubt if it would have been accepted under present day laws.

Following her husband’s death Jessie is reputed to have gone on a spending binge. Julius had invested heavily in property and had built several other houses in the area of The Mount. As funds became depleted Jessie sold off houses!. The net result was that when she died (circa 1929-1930) the residue of what had been a substantial estate was divided between the three surviving offspring and gave each of them approximately £1,500 . I have no idea what Sidney or Rose did with their share although I imagine Rose would have kept it as a dowry. Sidney probably invested it in his house in Hendon Central and my father bless his heart, probably paid off some debts!!.
There is some gossipy information about my father’s early life that was gleaned from my aunt Rose. Most of this information is hearsay and should not be taken too literally. However I’m including it here since it gives some possible insight to the family background.
As already mentioned , Julius Jacob was extremely wealthy during the early part of the 20th century. This wealth enabled his children, Rose, Sidney, Cecil and Victor to enjoy a lifestyle that was akin to the leisured classes. There are stories of my father, Victor, and his brothers using the household car and chauffeur for visits to the “West End” to wine, dine and probably womanize as well. In Rose’s opinion the Myers boys were brought up in the firm belief that they would never have to work for a living. Exactly what happened to Cecil is shrouded in mystery. He died at a young age, perhaps it was as a result of all this reputed carousing, who knows. I do at least have details of his existence since the release of the 1911 UK Census. He was 9 years old in 1911 (born 1902) and was living at The Mount, I'm going to see if I can get a copy of his Death certificate.

Children of Julius Jacob & Jesse Helen

 Uncle Sidney 1921  Father circa 1917  Uncle Cecil circa1923  Young Aunt Rose

Father was born on September 5th 1895 (December 2009 -As a result of the kind intervention of Carole King - a member of the Roth family who has provided much additional information about my uncle Max, she has also sent me a copy of the Baptism Registry which includes both Victor and his elder brother Sidney. This tells me that father was born in 1894 a year earlier than we all believed. I'm not sure how this misunderstanding came about, however one possible theory is that when he married my step mother, Phyllis, in 1944 he may have chosen to state that he was only 49 to avoid the "dreaded 50". I know that he was very conscious of the age difference, Phyl was only 28 at the time, and he may have felt that 49 and 28 was less sensational than 50 and 28. Who knows. As a result of this information I have now altered various other entries in particular his age at death which was 75 not 74.) I know little about his early life except the bits of hearsay mentioned above. . He died in 1969 aged 75. More details of his life are given as I personally experienced them during my lifetime later in this autobiography. However very little is known about his younger days.

Some other interesting thoughts about the baptism register entry that Carole King provided (see above) is the fact that two of the brothers were baptised at the same time even though there was 5 years between them. This rather bears out my theory that Julius Jacob and possible Jesse Helen were both anxious to "blot out" all traces of the Myers Jewish heritage by baptising their boys into the Church of England. The baptisms were solemnized in the parish of St. Barnabas, Holloway, London.

Video of Aunt Rose aged 97 - The Last of the Dynasty - Click the YouTube link below to see this video which was shot on Super 8 film and subsequently digitised.It was filmed in 1982 at the Kenton Nursing home where aunt Rose spent her last few years after suffering a mild stroke. The Lady's voice in the background is Phyl, my stepmother.Rose lived to just a few weeks short of 99

So much for the Myers side of the family. That is about all that I can tell you at present. If any further information is received I will include it in an update version of this autobiography.

The Cummings (Mother's family)


Grandma Cumming

My Mother’s maiden name was Cumming and although I knew my grandmother I did not consciously meet any other maternal relatives. I now have a copy of the marriage certificate between Sarah Elizabeth Elwood and James Cumming. The wedding took place in September 1894 at St. Saviours Church, London. I also have my mother’s birth certificate which shows her as having been born on July 17th 1898 at 39, Kenwyn Road, Clapham, London.


The picture to the left is probably Grandpa Cumming. I found it amongst some old negatives...The similarity between the little girl and my mum is strong and I have therefore decided that this is James Cumming beside my mum aged around 10.

 I now have a census entry for the Cumming family for the year 1901 as follows...
Name   Relation  Age  Profession or Occupation    Place of birth
 James Cumming  Head  36   Tailor  Scotland
 Sarah E. Cumming  Wife  35    Scotter, Lincolnshire.
 Gervase A. Cumming (Uncle)  Son  5    Lambeth, London
 Gladys Clara Cumming  (Mum)  Daughter  2   Clapham, London

Thanks to the efforts of Peter Smith, a Genealogist who has been researching my family in the UK, I have now located many “new" relatives on my Mother’s side.
Grandma Cumming’s maiden name was Elwood and she was one of 13 children. Her father was Gervais Elwood a Blacksmith of Scotter in Lincolnshire. This, of course accounts for the naming of my short lived brother. I am in the process of getting more information about the prolific Elwood family and will add more as it becomes clear.
I have made direct contact with second cousin Barbara Green whose grandmother was Grandma Cumming’s sister. She lives near Grimsby and was able to clear up many of the lingering queries I have had for as long as I can remember. Elsewhere in this biography there is mention of a dimly remembered visit to the Grimsby area with my mum. I have now found out that this was almost certainly to visit some "Elwood" relatives in Healing which is near Grimsby.
The Portman Square connection was due to a relative (Barbara Green's Grandfather - Joseph Wright) being employed by Lord Portman as a wheelwright. His lordship maintained a flat in Portman Square for the use of his staff when they were in London. The house in Healing was also part of the Portman estate. I now have a "Family Tree" for the Elwoods which goes right back to 1539, during the reign of Henry VIII, wow!! The first name on the tree is Johus Elwood born 1539, he produced two sons Wyllas and Henri Elwood.

Elwood Smithy - ScotterSmithy with people
Elwood's Smithy on High Street Scotter
Photo courtesy Andrew Sheardown - Archivist Scotter Village


MumMy Mother
Gladys Clara Cumming

My Mum married my father Victor Julius in 1921. Gladys was a seamstress. (1998 – Barbara now tells me that mother was Head Seamstress at Debenhams and had a considerable talent for making fancy clothes and underwear) She may have had something to do with one of the landed gentry families, Lord Portman I think it might have been. Certainly I have vague memories of being taken to Portman House in Portman square and meeting some servants or some such people there. Perhaps my mother was in service there. I also have a cloudy memory about visiting a “sewing room” of some sort and my instincts tell me that it was in the same area as Portman Square, perhaps Wigmore Street or maybe the Caledonian Road. (See above re Grimsby etc.)
Apart from the above, I believe that there were some sisters or cousins of grandma Cumming in Easton on the Hill near Stamford, Lincolnshire. I mention this because during the second World War my mother and I were evacuated to Collyweston a neighbouring village. More of this later.
Mum wasn’t what you would call a robust lady. She suffered from chronic pulmonary tuberculosis which in those days was incurable. As a consequence my young years memories of her are not very vivid. She was frequently in hospitals or sanatoria various and it was only a matter of time before she succumbed to what is nowadays a fairly simple to cure disease. She died January 24th 1944 age 46. I was just 12 years old.
Mum,Dad and Barbara
The photo on the left shows Mother, Father and Barbara. Probably taken on holiday somewhere, Mother is visibly pregnant. I think it was probably my brother, Gervais, who did not survive, but it may have been me! Question is...How old is Barbara in this picture? If she was 9’ish then its me in there.


Mum had an elder brother, Gervais Andrew Cumming born 1895 and killed in WW1 in France.

Click here for some information regarding his burial place


Gervase's GravestoneGervase's gravestone in France (click picture for larger image)
The inscription reads...
G/11943 Private
G.A.Cumming Middlesex Regiment
8th July 1916 Age21
"To Live in Hearts we leave behind is not to die" from Mother,
Father and Sister


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